A drunk driver who crashed her car following a police chase has avoided an immediate prison sentence.
Jaime McCarthy, 30, had been spotted in Bear Street, Nayland driving erratically on the evening of March 17 with no lights on before moving out onto the A134.
At one stage a male passenger had got out and pulled McCarthy from the driver’s seat before taking the wheel himself. After the car had travelled to near Assington, McCarthy took over driving again, prosecutor Laura Kenyon yesterday told Ipswich Crown Court.
The court heard that by this time police, who had been alerted by a worried member of the public, were following the car while displaying blue lights and using sirens.
The speed that McCarthy drove at varied between 27mph and 65mph, said Miss Kenyon.
McCarthy, of Brentwood, had drifted into the path of oncoming vehicles before losing control and swerving off the road and colliding with a tree.
Miss Kenyon said McCarthy told police officers that she had been drinking in a pub at Great Horkesley.
The court heard that a child who was a passenger in the car sustained a cut to the head which required plastic surgery.
McCarthy pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to provide a specimen of blood for analysis.
Judge John Devaux, who imposed a 14 month prison sentence suspended for two years, told McCarthy: “You are very lucky not to be receiving an immediate prison sentence.”
McCarthy, who has a previous conviction for drink driving, was also disqualified from driving for three years.
Appearing for McCarthy, Kevin Walsh said his client had not intended to be driving on the night of the offences but had decided to take over from the man who was behind the wheel who was said to have consumed 10 vodkas.
Mr Walsh said McCarthy was remorseful and had now stopped drinking. He said: “She felt she had to take over. It was clearly one of the worst decisions she has made in her entire life.”